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Gold: The High Reliability Choice in Semiconductor Packaging
Keywords: Gold, Reliability, Packaging
The reliability of gold in microelectronic packaging makes it the standard, by which all other materials must be judged. Even though the price of gold has risen significantly in this decade the usage of gold in microelectronic packaging has continued to grow and as consumer demand for high-end electronics continues to increase this trend looks set to continue. Efforts to make the most cost-effective usage of gold through spot plating, plating thickness reduction and the usage of thinner bonding wire have been successful. Gold wire remains the main wire material for ball bonding in microelectronics assembly and has proven reliable in billions of devices over many years. However, high gold prices are increasingly forcing a shift towards cheaper copper wire, despite concerns over reliability. As a result there is a need to obtain higher quality reliability data with gold and copper wires supported by state of the art analytical methods. This will help quantify and validate the relative merits of the two metals in this critical application. Design-for-recycling should also be an important consideration in material selection. The precious metals (mainly gold) constitute a very substantial proportion of the material value of waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) and gold can be considered as a key component of the economic viability of WEEE recycling.
Lee Levine, Consultant
Process Solutions Consulting
New Tripoli, PA


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